CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month June 2023

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month May 2023

Improved Situations

Our global conflict tracker warns of four conflict risks in June.

  • Hostilities escalated in Sudan between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, notably in Darfur region, where the growing involvement of tribal militias and armed groups threatens all-out civil war.
     
  • In Somaliland, fighting between government forces and Dhulbahante clan militias spread in the Sool region. As parties recruit new fighters, the conflict could morph into a confrontation between clan families and ripple into other parts of Somaliland.
     
  • Large-scale military exercises conducted by the U.S. and South Korea to mark their alliance’s 70th anniversary and North Korea’s attempts to launch a satellite look set to contribute to a spike in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
     
  • In Russia, Ukraine-aligned Russian combatants staged a cross-border incursion and multiple drones targeted the capital, Moscow. As the war in Ukraine continues, more subversive activities and attacks on Russian territory can be expected.

CrisisWatch identified deteriorations in twelve countries in May.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest in Pakistan triggered deadly street clashes between his supporters and security forces, widening the breach with the government and straining Khan’s relations with the military (see “Country in Focus”).
     
  • In India, ethnic clashes in Manipur state in the north east killed scores of people and displaced tens of thousands, stoking the dormant separatist insurgency.
     
  • As military operations against Al-Shabaab’s Islamist insurgency in Somalia reached a standstill, the group launched a major attack on an African Union military base, likely leaving dozens dead.
     
  • In Guinea, changes in the military leadership revealed tensions at the highest levels of government, and deadly protests erupted following the failure of the mediation process between transitional military authorities and the opposition.
     
  • Fighting between rival militias broke out in western Libya as moves to form a new executive heightened political tension, while also undermining a UN push to hold elections before the end of the year.
  • Protests in Kosovo’s Serb-majority northern municipalities following tense April elections turned violent, injuring dozens of people, including NATO peacekeepers.

Aside from the dozens of conflict situations we assess every month, we tracked significant developments in Bahrain, Benin, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia and Senegal.

 

Country in Focus: Pakistan

What happened in May? Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest triggered widespread street unrest, which left nine people dead and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars. Militants continued a spate of deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, which border Afghanistan.

Why does it matter? Violent street clashes undermined the chances of a compromise between the government and Khan’s party on fixing an election date, and attacks on military bases fuelled animosity between Khan and the military. Renewed militancy poses an acute security challenge.

What to Watch in the next 3-6 months? The election commission may not be able to oversee transparent, credible and peaceful elections. The potential for violence is high, including a deadly confrontation between Khan’s supporters and law enforcement personnel.

The government has opted for “all-out comprehensive operations” to root out the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which risks displacing thousands. The spike in militancy will also further strain Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities.

Pakistan’s unprecedented economic crisis is bound to worsen – along with the danger of Pakistan defaulting on its debt – should Islamabad fail to reach agreement on an International Monetary Fund bailout.

CrisisWatch Digests

Our CrisisWatch Digests offer a monthly one-page snapshot of conflict-related country trends in a clear, accessible format, using a map of the region to pinpoint developments.

For our most recent CrisisWatch Digests, please follow these links for EthiopiaLebanon and Somalia.

Latest Updates

Europe & Central Asia

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Tensions ran high in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor, which aggravated humanitarian crisis and heightened fears of ethnic cleansing; clashes occurred along line of contact.

Checkpoint on Lachin corridor faced fierce opposition amid humanitarian crisis. After Azerbaijan late April installed checkpoint on Lachin road connecting Armenia to NK, Azerbaijani-backed protesters ended months-long rally, which had hampered NK residents’ access to basic necessities. Azerbaijani military consolidated blockade, however, leading to even fewer crossings and reduced transportation of goods. De facto NK authorities early May said reinforced checkpoint caused “acute humanitarian crisis”. Armenia 22 May urged UN Security Council to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to NK by “sending an international mission”. Meanwhile, thousands 9 May protested in de facto capital Stepanakert, chanting “No to ethnic cleansing”, amid fears checkpoint could be precursor to such acts.

Azerbaijani leader urged de facto officials to dissolve parliament in NK. Amid resumption of talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan (see Armenia and Azerbaijan), Armenian PM Pashinyan 22 May said “Azerbaijan’s territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh”, while still calling for special arrangements to protect rights and security of ethnic Armenians living in enclave. De facto President Arayik Harutyunyan 23 May called possible Armenian recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over NK “unacceptable and inadmissible”. Azerbaijani President Aliyev 28 May said NK population should “obey the laws of Azerbaijan” and called for dissolution of parliament, warning Baku was capable of launching “operation” in region immediately; de facto authorities 29 May decried statement, while Armenian foreign ministry said Aliyev was threatening “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh with ethnic cleansing”.

De facto armed forces and Azerbaijan traded blame for unrest in northern NK. Azerbaijan 12 May reported de facto NK armed forces fired on Azerbaijani army; de facto defence ministry same day denied allegations. De facto authorities 18, 21 May accused Azerbaijan of violating ceasefire “in the northern & eastern directions” of NK contact line, attacking civilians.

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